Writer-Director Vs. Writer-Producer

The last time I was at a pitch fest in L.A., I had the distinct pleasure of listening to a panel of professional writers offering advice to other writers on how to get their script produced while maintaining creative control. The consensus was: Be a writer-producer. A few of those writers pointed out that years before, the consensus was, be a writer-director. Considering they are seasoned professionals, any advice they could offer was golden.

Fully understanding the role of producer and director is certainly key to deciding if you’re up to the task. I’ve researched both and will attempt to provide a description of each role’s responsibilities.

As a producer, you bear most of the responsibility for a film’s production. This means selecting a director, co-producer, cinematographer, unit production manager, production designer,and principal cast. It involves participating in location scouting, production schedule, and budget. There’s also post-production and marketing.

The director participates in selecting cast, approves the script, locations, set designs, and shooting schedules, directs the film, reviews the dailies (unedited footage), prepares the director’s cut, consults throughout post-production, instructs the editor, and participates in spotting and dubbing of sound and music.

Both positions can be very intimidating and carry huge responsibility. Personally, I would want to direct my own screenplay rather than produce it. Having creative control to ensure the story is told the way I intended is what’s most important to me, but being a producer actually guarantees the movie gets made. Hmmmn, decisions, decisions.

(Photo credit: moleshko)

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